Closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have important implications for the Australian economy, according to new research by investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere.
The Australia's Hidden Resource: The Economic Case For Increasing Female Participation study estimates that closing the gap would boost the level of Australian GDP by 11 per cent.
It stated that while much progress has been made in addressing the disparity between male and female employment, Australia is only two thirds of the way to unlocking the hidden value of the female labour pool.
However, the bank's chief economist, Tim Toohey, said that policies aimed at merely bringing women into the workforce are inadequate.
“A large gulf exists in the historical measures of male and female productivity growth in Australia. Male productivity has historically averaged over double that of female productivity over the past 30 years. We refuse to believe that a female with the same educational and work experience as a male will be 50 per cent less productive in a similar role.
“Instead, we find that an important element of gender equality is the dominance of females in low productivity sectors of the economy, particularly health care and training, a bias to clerical roles and a bias to working short hours.”